1. The problems with the Sochi Olympics are myriad and sundry, but most of the mockery has been centered on the general shoddiness and unpreparedness of it all. Not to mention safety concerns. What people don’t get is that Russia is not a functioning nation-state, and doesn’t have anything in its long history that comes within miles of the “customer service” concept. Indeed, Russia’s only functioning economic sectors are “corruption” and “graft”, with “gangsterism” close behind. Putin’s portrait on the front desk of one of the unready local hotels speaks volumes. 

It has forever been a feudal kingdom run first by imperial gentry, then by communist nomenklatura, and now by a hybrid kleptocracy/autocracy with a fierce nationalist streak that is joined at the hip with its secret police service. The notion that this Russia could get it together to throw together an Olympic games in its current political and economic climate was always absurd. Perhaps a future Russia will do better. 

2. A United Nations human rights panel sharply criticized the Vatican for: 

…systematically adopting policies that permitted priests to sexually abuse tens of thousands of children globally over the last several decades.

The United Nations committee faulted the church for failing to take effective measures to reveal the breadth of clergy sexual abuse in the past, and for not adopting measures to sufficiently protect Catholic children in the future.

“The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse,” the report said.

The report also criticized the church’s culture of secrecy and longstanding practice of silencing abuse victims in order to protect the reputation of priests and the church’s moral authority worldwide, asserting that the church had systematically placed preservation of the reputation of the church and the alleged offender over the protection of child victims.

This is quite possibly the sharpest and strongest criticism yet of what really amounts to a worldwide criminal conspiracy to protect and cover-up sexual assault perpetrated against children by people in a position of trust and authority who donned a mantle of sanctity and holiness. It is nothing short of sickening. 

3. Much of the criticism of the ECC North STEM expansion is emotional rather than factual. The downtown campus isn’t so much a campus as it is a building, and my curiosity is piqued by the interesting group of people who are most vocal about it, and I’d love to know more about who’s funding these efforts. The fact of the matter is that the health-related expansion is taking place at North campus to (a) effectively compete with NCCC and ensure that students and their money don’t end up in another county; and (b) North has the capacity to most inexpensively support the building. It would seem to me that complaints about the commute to Main & Youngs could be alleviated by an improved, more frequent shuttle bus service between downtown, the medical campus, and ECC North, with longer hours and an app to track bus location, departure, and arrival times. If, as the expansion opponents argue, the real issue is student convenience it would seem as if cheaper, more immediate solutions are at hand. A lawsuit to block the ECC North expansion is great for lawyers, bad for students. 

4. Yesterday, bigshots were in town to announce the creation of 43North, a huge business plan competition that will award $5 million in prizes to the best business plans, with the top idea getting $1 million to get started. The competition is open to anyone in the world over the age of 18.  Winning companies will be required to locate in Buffalo for one year, and will receive not only the cash prizes, but free space. Got an idea? Apply here.  

5. You know how people like Chris Collins are salivating over a CBO report that supposedly concluded that Obamacare will cost 2 million jobs? Chris Collins is one of those plutocrats who think that America only exists to comfort the comfortable and further afflict the afflicted. When Paul Ryan is busy fact-checking your clumsy ass, you’ve really gone down a weird rabbit hole. Next time you see Chris Collins in person (that’s a laugh), ask him why he doesn’t think you and your family deserve health insurance. The CBO didn’t say it would cost 2 million jobs – it said that Americans with newly acquired health insurance coverage would be more free

Obamacare would lead to a decrease in the number of hours worked by up to 2 percent in 2024. Most of that drop, the CBO said, would be the result of Americans choosing not to work, for various reasons, but not because employers would want to hire fewer workers on account of the law. Translate those lost hours into full-time employment and it equals up to 2.5 million jobs by 2024. But that’s not the same as jobs being cut.

6. Speaking of our plutocracy, if you want to see the Koch Brothers’ sausage-making recipe, you’re going to want to click here. What people like the Kochs and other billionaires are plotting is to effectively turn the United States into two distinct countries, divided by class.  Succinctly put, they want to effectively end America as we know it and replace our bourgeois revolution of the late 18th century – a product of the Enlightenment – with some restoration of feudalism. The people on the list that Mother Jones obtained would be the lords and you and I would be, at best, mere vassals. The problem is that they’ve got a compliant media, a wholly owned political party, and a poorly informed tea party army to help move the fight along. 

You know, when the rich unionize to halt taxation and further concentrate their wealth and power, doesn’t that prove the fallacy of supply-side, trickle-down economics which has enthralled and destroyed the country since the early 1980s? 


  • The Sochi experience…..stay in a hotel with no running water, and your computer is hacked 2 minutes after booting, not to mention sleepless nights waiting for the first blast to occur….sounds like a good old time in the old USSR to me…..

  • On #2, any other organization that enabled, concealed, and ignored sexual abuse and rape would be prosecuted and dismantled, why the pass for the Catholic Church?
    On #3, Half of all ECC students live in Buffalo, that fact alone supports efforts to expand in the city rather than at the north campus. Also health-related studies would dovetail perfectly with the growing medical corridor.
    On #5, More Americans seem eager to work less and enjoy their life more, a good thing IMO. The ACA is supporting that freedom of choice and those that op out open up opportunities for those needing more work, a win/win.
    On #6, I am afraid the plutocracy is already entrenched and growing stronger every day. Ronald Reagan made it cool to be greedy and to blame the poor for all that ails us, the right has continued to sell that narrative to the gullible and naive. As I have pointed out before, the boittom 50% of Americans share collectively less than 1% of our nations wealth. Lets hold them accountable for that 1% of our economy and hold the wealthy accountable for the rest.

    • It is disgusting that taxpayer money finds its way into the hands of the enablers of child rape through things like having Catholic Charities administer welfare programs. There really should be legislation to prevent any organization or the affiliates of any organization with a history of enabling and covering up the rape of children from receiving any sort of taxpayer money. It may never pass, but just having it proposed in the legislature would make those perverts stand up and show the world what they are.

    • Freedom of Choice to not work? That is laughable. Your so called freedom is supported by others working harder to support their lazy asses.

      • The report says “a decrease in number of hours worked”, not the “Freedom of choice to not work” as you falsely claim. Some choosing to work fewer hours opens up more opportunities for the unemployed or those choosing to work more hours. I don’t see how that is lazy, if anything you should thank those people for sharing some of their hours with the less fortunate.

      • You assume that there are jobs available for all of the so-called lazy folks conservatives love to beat up on. If the CBO is correct, this will result in job openings for many of them.

        I am still trying to figure out how any of this is bad. I am looking forward to the day when conservatives take the credit back for Obamacare. Within five years, we will be continually reminded that this was all the brainchild of Mitt Romney and GOP thinktanks.

  • I’ve never heard Collins say he doesn’t want someone to not have health insurance. Opposing Obamacare is not the same as wanting to deny people health coverage.

    From the CBO report regarding labor output loss (less jobs), “almost
    entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor – given the
    new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial
    benefits.” In other words, the incentive to work is reduced by the increase in government benefits. Spin it any way you want, that is highly counter-productive.

    • Labor output loss is not necessarily “less jobs” but a re-shuffling of existing jobs, in an economy with high unemployment that is a good thing. The incentive to work less will likely impact those close to retirement, those working past retirement and those that work only to maintain health care benefits, again opening up opportunities for others.


      • The net jobs loss is 2 – 2.5 million fewer people working. Even if people take advantage of openings, there will still be a net jobs lost of 2 – 2.5 million. That means less people paying taxes and more people taking advantage of government benefits paid by those who work. Any way you look at this, it is a huge negative for the economy as a whole.

        • From the CBO report- “Other applicants will be readily available to fill the positions and overall effect on employment will be muted” Meanwhile, the report notes, “health care subsidies to low-income Americans will lead to those people spending money on other things-which will create jobs”
          Like I said, any reduction in hours will be absorbed by others, that how markets work.

        • I thought it was the “conservative” position to encourage entrepreneurship and small business ownership. Insurance portability and access fosters precious entrepreneurs, the makers-not-takers who are the lifeblood of our economy, on the conservative telling. That’s the reason a program similar to Obamacare was the Republican counter-proposal to Clinton’s healthcare plan.

        • In a very basic sense, if those hours are pulled from the labor market (and assuming that those people weren’t being paid to stand around and do nothing), those hours will be replaced by new employees, by existing employees working additional hours, or a combination of the two. Regardless, the people who want more hours will be more likely to get them. The people who do not need them as much (those working strictly for coverage) will not. This is a complete win.

          • How is 2 – 2.5 million fewer people working and paying taxes a win? They are not replaced. Read what I wrote and the article from U.S. News I cited, this is a net loss. A lose/lose, for everyone. If the jobs were replaced by previously unemployed people, you would have a point, however, that is not the case.

    • When have you ever seen him declare that everyone should have health insurance? Nowhere is where. Never is when.

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